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Brand New Jeep Wrangler

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What's Hot

Few cars are built with the single-minded ruggedness of the Wrangler.

What's Not

Half-size rear seats and poor rear visibility.

X-Factor

This is no pretender; while most 4x4s only pretend to want to play in the mud, few can like the Jeep.

Overall Rating

Interior
On The Road
Value For Money

General

Country of Origin
UNITED STATES
Price
$43,000 (plus on-road costs)
Engine
4 Cylinders
Output
147 kW / 460 Nm
Transmission
Automatic

Safety

ANCAP Rating
N/A
Airbags
Driver, Passenger

Efficiency

L/100 km
8.3
C02
217 g/km

Towing and Luggage

Luggage Capacity
598 L
Towing (braked)
2300 kg
Towing (unbraked)
750 kg

Kez Casey | May 20, 2011 | 6 Comments

JEEP WRANGLER REVIEW

Vehicle Style: 4x4 wagon
Price: $43,000
Fuel Economy (claimed): 8.3 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 11.2 l/100km

 

OVERVIEW

It’s not for the faint hearted, Jeep’s Wrangler. But while built for the rough and tumble of the trail, it’s now a more user-friendly package.

The 2011 update even included some interior refinements to make the open top Jeep seem almost car-like... almost.

But while creature comforts are improved, the Wrangler is really all about one thing: under its skin is an off-roader capable of taking you places other light-duty SUVs can only dream about.

 

INTERIOR

Quality: Interior fittings in the Wrangler look rugged and feel like they could withstand a thorough beating. There is no plush padding though; hard plastics are the order of the day. Perfect for their intended purpose.

Comfort: Though the seats are firm and don’t offer a lot of support, they hold up well on longer trips.

Rear passengers get a fairly upright seat with a short cushion and limited visibility (you may have to expect some grumbles from back there sooner into the journey).

Equipment: Remote central locking, heated electric door-mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, six-speaker CD/MP3/DVD audio, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, removable canvas roof, power windows and air-conditioning.

Storage: Rear cargo space is awkwardly shaped thanks to the Wrangler’s roll bars and optional Infinity sub-woofer.

With seats folded there’s a handy 935 litres of space, plus a removable under-floor bin, lockable centre console and net-pockets in doors and dash.

 

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: Wrangler’s 2.8 litre intercooled diesel looks good on paper with 147kW of power and 460Nm of torque from as low as 1600rpm.

On the road though it needs a decent prod to get things moving, with a kerb weight of almost two tonnes (1987kg) dragging it down.

But, once rolling, the Wrangler feels strong with a thick torque band constantly on call.

That said, the five-speed auto is off-the-pace; its ratios are too widely-spaced and with shift patterns that don’t always flatter the engine. The available manual-mode is more responsive and a better way to modulate gear-shifts.

Refinement: Refinement is a hit-and-miss affair in the Wrangler. Engine clatter intrudes into the cabin at idle, and the nuggety tyres can roar up a storm on the freeway.

Wind noise is hard to pick (no mean feat considering the three-piece fibreglass roof fitted to our test car), and body rigidity is excellent.

Suspension: Solid axles and coil springs are employed front and rear giving 257mm of ground clearance. The high-pressure gas shock-absorbers are tuned for increased feel at low speed (for off-road situations), softening as speed rises.

The system works well, without the fidgety feel of some four-wheel-drives.

Braking: Weight truly is the enemy of the Wrangler, hampering its braking performance. On gravel though, the ABS tuning for the four-wheel disc-brakes works very well.

 

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: Not tested.

Safety features: Dual airbags, electronic stability control, ABS brakes, electronic roll mitigation, height adjustable, pretensioning front seatbelts, and high-tensile steel roll bars are standard. Side airbags for front passengers are available as an option.

 

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: 3 years/100,000km

Service costs: TBC

 

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

Land Rover Defender 110 ($48,990) – Cast from the same ‘function-before-form’ mould, the Defender casts aside mod-cons for pure go-anywhere ability.

Less power and torque and not quite as trendy, but built to work hard no matter what’s thrown at it.

Mitsubishi Challenger LS 2.5DT ($47,490) – Challenger offers a more car-like experience, but is also very capable off-road. Rear seat passengers will appreciate the additional space and refinement. (see Challenger reviews)

Toyota FJ Cruiser ($44,990) – The petrol V6 powertrain may not suit everyone but the bold FJ Cruiser offers the same rugged, adventurous, lifestyle-oriented experience as the Wrangler.

Based on Prado mechanicals, the FJ is both refined and capable off-road. (see FJ Cruiser reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

 

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

Despite its popularity in and around Australian cities, the Wrangler never quite feels truly at home in town.

This is a no-compromise off-roader, and steep climbs, muddy ruts and winding gravel trails are where it does its best work.

As an affordable way into the world of off-road adventuring, Jeep’s rugged Wrangler is hard to beat.

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